Dwyane Wade on His Versace Campaign & Family's Love of Fashion

Dwyane Wade has had a busy January. His longtime NBA team announced they’re building a statue in his honor. The Barber of Little Rock, a short film he produced, was nominated for an Academy Award. He’s also fronting Versace’s late men’s eyewear campaign. The former NBA Finals MVP and three-time champion first appeared in a Versace campaign last year, but this time around the house decided it needed to get to know him a little better. They asked him to assemble a personal “profile” comprised of his essential, everyday ephemera. Wade chose his first NBA championship ring, a camera, and a photo of his younger daughter, Kaavia.

Of course, Versace already knew one thing about Wade: he’s an excellent dresser with a deep passion for style. Here, Wade discusses how he plans out his outfits, his fashion pet peeve, and his love of a fresh pair of socks.

How long have you known Donatella?

I’ve met her over the years, but this is the first time I’ve gotten a chance to have real conversations, where we’re laughing and joking. I can sit across the table and really feel the vibe of Donatella. I’ve seen different [facets of] her over the course of this relationship. Once we both got around each other, we were like, okay, we like this. Let’s see what else we can do together.

I know you provided a photo of your daughter. It seems like fashion is a big part of your household in general. What is it like to have a family where so many people love style?

It’s fun. We like to put it on. We like to play, dress up, whatever you want. My daughter Kaavia, she likes to play dress up—but she dresses herself. She has a certain eye. We love expressing ourselves through our fashion, and we love that we get to do it as a family. We get to go to red carpets together, we get to go to fashion shows together. We just get to dress together.

Nowadays fashion in the NBA is so big, but when you were first starting out, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Back in the day people were razzing you for some of the things you wore, but now you’re seen as an innovator. What drove you to make those style choices back then?

Back then I was coming into my own. I won’t say that it was easy for me to do. Early on, I thought, man, they’re going to talk about me with this one. I was in that head space as a young man in my mid 20s. Then I got to a point where I was like, They’re going to talk about me regardless. If this is what I like, this is what feels good on my body, and this is what helps me perform better, then I should be focused on that. Sometimes people don’t understand or sometimes you’re ahead of the wave. So you have to forgive people for not understanding.

What was your style like as a teenager?

I can’t even say I had a [sense of] style as a teenager. It was really just get whatever you can get, whatever you can put your hands on. That’s one of the things about being a little less fortunate, only having money for the basics, the necessities—you don’t get the things you want. So I couldn’t really tap into my own style. Once I got older, I was able to say, okay, I like this. I’m going this way.

So the interest in fashion started when you got to the NBA?

I started growing. I was like, I like that material. I like that pattern.

Do you remember one of the first major fashion purchases you made?

Getting a stylist. That was very expensive, to have people do that for you. Before I was with Jason Bolden, Calyann Barnett and I had a relationship for a very long time. My style developed by going through swatches, going through look books. That was my intro to fashion—sitting down with someone who could help me put my ideas down on paper and then bring them to life.

Do you have any specific style icons?

I admire confidence more so than what someone’s wearing. I admire the confidence of Lenny Kravitz. Jason and I tend to look at older references, like an old Denzel Washington photo. Back in the day, man dressed a certain way. It was beautiful.

I’m a fan of people who express freedom with how they dress, and they don’t allow anyone to talk about ‘em in that way. There are two guys in the NBA I’m thinking of: Russell Westbrook, good job. Kyle Kuzma, good job.

What’s your best style tip?

Always travel with a lint roller.

Do you still hang on to a lot of your old clothes? Are there any prized possessions in your closet?

I put those in storage, actually. When it comes to my closet, I do a lot of clean-outs. I’m not a hoarder. If it’s not an archive moment, it’s out.

Do you have any style pet peeves?

One thing that drives me crazy is anything itchy. Certain designer tanks look beautiful, but I can’t wear them because they’re so itchy. I don’t want to suffer through a look by being irritated all night.

If you were going shopping tomorrow, what would be on your wish list?

A real good pair of pants. I like a certain kind of high waistline, but it has to have a little bagginess in it because I like to be comfortable as well.

I’m also obsessed with socks. I have so many pairs of socks—it is not healthy. I did two shows today, The Today Show and Kelly Clarkson. I’m not wearing the same socks on both shows. I changed in between. If I’m able to change clothes, then I’m changing socks, too.

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